Aroma therapy is very popular in Sedona. But today I’m going to share a different type of Aroma therapy. Do you ever wonder about all of the scents that people say are in a particular wine? A few years back I had the opportunity to visit an Aroma room at Balasco de Baquedano in Mendoza, Argentina. There were close to 50 aromas. Each different scent was situated in a box on a stand. You’d walk around, open the top of the box, crank for the aroma, and sniff. Aromas like diesel, grass, plum, almonds, citrus, mint, chocolate, cinnamon, etc. were showcased. It truly helped me expand my horizons when sampling the nose of a wine. Many winemakers have little aroma kits, but this was such an amazing experience for those of us that don’t. How many scents can the nose pick up? Well, 10,000 has been the standard number, but now scientists have concluded it can be closer to a trillion! No matter what the number, it's definitely a lot. If you're ever in the area, I'd highly recommend this experience of Aroma therapy, Mendoza style. Located also in the Aroma room was an interesting section on cork manufacturing.
Balasco de Baquedano offered a luscious wine and food paring lunch, beautifully presented, and overlooking the vineyards. Though I enjoyed many of the wines at other vineyards so much more, including Achaval Ferrer, Vina Cobos, and Trapiche, the experience of the aroma room and luncheon was a vacation highlight.
When I was just a little girl, my parents would throw gala parties complete with gourmet food, luscious homemade desserts and drinks. My mother was an incredible cook and baker, so guests would be thrilled to attend. Toward the end of the evenings, I would sneak around the party room and finish off the grasshoppers, whisky sours, martinis and whatever else I could find. In fact, when I was once caught by one of their friends, he called me whisky face for years.
Manischewitz had been our family go to wine, so there was little exposure to the vast variety of complex wines on the market. Fast forward 20 years and I found I no longer enjoyed the sugary mixed drinks, and sweet wine and started expanding my horizons. While backpacking through Greece, Spain, and Italy, I started to develop a taste for quality wine. It was cheaper than water and complemented the paella, fresh fish, wonderful Greek salads, moussaka, pasta and other main courses. The Retsina wines of Greece were shocking to my newly developed palate, but enjoyable none the less. The Spanish Riojas became a mainstay and in Italy the Sangiovese, especially the Brunellos were favorites. Though I was not as wild about sweet wines, I still enjoyed the Sangrias of Spain on hot summer days, finding full meals which included desert and sangria for less than 50 cents. Those were the days…
Over the years I had the opportunity to travel to many countries and try all types of wine, from Amarones to Zinfandel. I continue to enjoy finding new varietals and blends. Little did I know back in my youth, that I would one day take that love of wine to start a wine and beer touring company in Sedona and the Verde Valley.
Sue Schurgin is the manager of Sedona Wine and Beer Tours and is studying for her CSW and sommelier certificates.